Thursday, September 7, 2017

P.M. Pelosi: Postscript

Trump on a somewhat idealized Fifth Avenue, coloring book, via Dwight Newman.
New detail coming out (and it doesn't take much detail) from Ryan Lizza, via Lemieux, seems to confirm my feelings about this:
The plan was perfect for the G.O.P. The House would pass a “clean” debt ceiling that most Republicans would probably support. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, would add the Harvey money and pass the two bills together with the help of Democrats. The plan was to raise the debt ceiling for eighteen months, which would kick the next difficult vote past the 2018 midterm elections. In the House, such a bill likely would have lost some votes from both parties, but, given the urgency of the hurricane aid, it was a decent bet to pass. Best of all, for G.O.P. leaders, the bill would have taken away the Democrats’ debt-ceiling leverage from the coming debates on immigration, government spending, and health care.
But, when conservative Republicans came out vocally against McConnell and Ryan’s plan, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, saw an opening. They called for the three-month debt-ceiling deal, which would kick the issue into mid-December, allowing them to maintain their leverage as Congress worked out agreements on other agenda items.
That is, it was the refusal of the "conservatives" to play along—the inability of congressional Republicans to work as a caucus—that aborted Ryan's and McConnell's plan. When they got to the White House they literally had nothing to offer Trump at all, and Pelosi and Schumer had something for which they could deliver the votes. The Republican party has stopped working—it's broken.

Lizza or his New Yorker editor, like Talking Points Memo, has a headline suggesting that "Trump got rolled", but I don't think that's really true at all: Trump got the only thing he seriously wanted, the sense that he'd accomplished something. (As ever, if you think he cares about the content of legislation, you're reading it wrong. He may care a good deal about how it's received, and he hates being accused of breaking promises, but he's not bothered one way or the other about what happens to a few million medical patients or a few hundred thousand involuntary immigrants.) And a big bonus in the particular case, that he's able to avenge himself on McConnell and leaks to the New York Times about how McConnell can't get along with and doesn't respect him. NBC News calls it "payback". (More on that from Jim in comments to previous post.)

We're told this Tweet was Pelosi's idea (h/t Roving Youth Pastor):

That was fairly prime ministerial advice on her part.

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